The hosts, meanwhile, are also seeking to end a long winless run as they endeavour to propel themselves into the top half of the table.
Fortaleza extended their miserable winless run across all competitions to eight matches when they suffered a slender 1-0 home defeat to Cruzeiro last weekend.
An 80th-minute strike from Bruno Rodrigues was enough for the visitors to claim all three points and condemn the Lion of the Pici to their 14th Brasileiro defeat of the season – six of which have come in their last seven top-flight fixtures.
Juan Pablo Vojvoda's side had hopes of securing a top-four finish earlier this season, but their poor run of form over the last month has seen them plummet down to 12th in the table, 14 points behind the top six and 16 adrift of Bragantino in fourth spot with only five games remaining.
Maintaining their place in the top 12 and securing at least a group-stage spot in the Copa Sudamericana – a competition in which they suffered a heartbreaking penalty-shootout defeat in the final to LDU Quito last month – is now the realistic aim for Fortaleza.
Not since September/October 2021 have Fortaleza suffered three successive league defeats on home soil, but avoiding a repeat of that feat on Thursday could prove challenging as they have only won two of their last 10 meetings with Botafogo, and lost 3-1 to the Rio de Janeiro-based club in their most recent home encounter in September last year.
Like Fortaleza, Botafogo are not in the highest of spirits heading into Thursday's contest, as they have failed to win any of their last six matches across all competitions, while they have only won two of their last 13 games since the end of August.
Interim boss Lucio Flavio initially steadied the ship following his arrival in early October before suffering four successive defeats, but O Glorioso's losing streak was brought to an end in their most recent match just over a week ago when they played out a 2-2 draw with Bragantino.
Botafogo were on course to claim maximum points courtesy of goals from Victor Sa and Carlos Eduardo, but Thiago Borbas scored his second goal of the game in the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time to rescue a point for Bragantino in dramatic circumstances.
With five Brasileiro fixtures remaining, Botafogo are still in contention to win their first top-flight title since 1995 as they sit just two points adrift of new leaders and reigning champions Palmeiras, who have played a game more.
Botafogo will fancy their chances of success on Thursday as they have won each of their last three meeting with Fortaleza, scoring eight goals in the process, and victory would provide Flavio's men with a much-needed boost in their title charge, with four remaining fixtures against bottom-half sides on the horizon.
Fortaleza will be without Hercules (ACL), Tobias Figueiredo (thigh) and Vinicius Zanocelo (groin) as they continue to recovery from injury, with the latter two hoping to return at some stage next month.
Star winger Yago Pikachu has played in a remarkable 69 matches across all competitions this season, at least four more than any of his teammates, and the experienced winger – who has scored 11 goals and provided nine assists – is expected to retain his place on the right flank.
Top scorer Juan Martin Lucero, who has found the net 23 times this term, has failed to make the net ripple in his last four Brasileiro appearances, but the Argentine is set to keep his spot up front, while captain Tinga could be joined in the back four by Emanuel Britez, Titi and Bruno Pacheco.
Tiquinho, who has scored 28 goals so far this season, was forced off in the first half against Bragantino after sustaining an ankle problem, but the striker has since returned to training this week and should be fit to feature on Thursday.
Ever-present quartet Adryelson, Victor Cuesta, Tche Tche and Marlon Freitas are all set to retain their places in the first XI, with the former two starting at centre-back and the latter two operating in centre-midfield.
Fortaleza possible starting lineup:
Ricardo; Tinga, Britez, Titi, Pacheco; Welison, Alexandre; Pikachu, Pochettino, Guilherme; Lucero
Botafogo possible starting lineup:
Perri; Di Placido, Adryelson, Cuesta, Marcal; Tche Tche, Freitas; Santos, Eduardo, Sa; Tiquinho
We say: Fortaleza 1-2 Botafogo
Both Fortaleza and Botafogo are desperate to return to winning ways and can ill-afford to drop more points if they wish to meet their respective targets as the season draws to a close.
Botafogo have fared better in recent meetings with Fortaleza and we believe that the visitors will have the edge in the final third to help them claim all three points and climb to the Brasileiro summit.
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